Cuisine: a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, techniques and dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture or geographic region.
Here in the South Carolina Lowcountry, our very well documented cuisine has deep roots that pre-date First Contact. Our shared cuisine has overcome Diaspora, wars, disease, plague, pestilence, earthquakes, hurricanes and enemy occupation (twice.) Our great strength is the profusion of cultural influences that have shaped who we are today: Native American, Spanish, West African, Italian, English, Huguenot French, German, and many many more. Our Lowcountry repertoire is testament to the blending of these waters: BBQ, shrimp & grits, pirlou, okra gumbo, benne seed wafers, coconut layer cake.
Late 19th Century truck farming helped pull South Carolina out of Reconstruction, and while it grew our economic engine, it also favored portability over flavor. By the mid 20th Century, agricultural products that had been the standard bearers of flavor for centuries diminished and, in many cases, disappeared.
If a cuisine is defined as above, how do you reset an entire cuisine when many of the components have gone missing? You sit up straight and pay strict attention.
More to follow…